When FM is Dead

November 9, 2015 — Leave a comment
Bill Scott

Bill Scott

Perhaps radio isn’t dying but its changing.  I get the chance to travel to multiple countries doing fundraisers and talking to radio people.  I love the opportunities I get and the insight I receive from so many friends in the media industry.

Each Monday I get in my rental car heading to another station.  The first thing I do is hook my phone up to the cars dashboard.  I then choose AM, FM, XM or Bluetooth which opens other choices like Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, iHeart or the music on my phone.  There are just so many choices to choose from.

I can honestly tell you that AM and FM very rarely are something I choose.  I do think what I choose might surprise you, I still listen to radio a lot of the time but it’s an AM or FM through an app or iHeart radio.  People are still listening to radio but how they listen is beginning to change.

I know many in radio fear all the choices people may have in the car but to be honest I love what Mark Ramsey wrote recently in one of his blogs.
Certainly there will be erosion to radio listening as a result of new choices on the dashboard. But this will be erosion at the edges – erosion that impacts the weakest radio brands most and the strongest radio brands least. Isn’t the lesson to be a strong radio brand?”  FULL ARTICLE 

I am encouraging many of my clients to invest in a great radio app for their stations and make sure you run it with a high bit rate.  I was listening to a station the other day through my phone but the bit rate was low enough where it just didn’t sound good.  I think we need to own as many  choices as the people have.  You already own AM or an FM signal.  You need to own a great radio app.  Look for other outlets to stream your audio like iHeart radio.  People love your station, make it where they have choices of how they listen to you.  I love the fact that you are no longer restricted by your AM or FM signal.  I often to listen to WOOD FM in Grand Rapids Michigan when I want talk and WJJZ on Philadelphia when I want smooth jazz.  I would encourage you to provide video to your audience along with all the social media opportunities you have available to you.

I believe that new doors are open for radio that could give us the chance to reach more people than ever before.  There are a lot of choices but I believe we can  be the best choice out there if we are willing to be a strong brand.  Yes it’s going to cost money and take extra energy but at the same time I believe you’ll see that money again in your advertising or in our fundraising.

I’m finding this fall that stations are doing well in their fundraising if they are willing to provide a great brand for their listeners.  For radio I believe the best is yet to come if you are willing to embrace change and look for new ways to engage your audience.

Bill Scott

Bill Scott

I have been in radio long enough to remember the days when there was only one radio station in a city that played CCM (Contemporary Christian Music).  As a matter of fact there were only a hand full of cities that actually had a CCM station.  A city thought they had arrived if they had a CCM station and a Christian bookstore that sold CCM.

We thought we owned the city if we were the only Christian station in town.  How dare someone think they could put on a second Christian station on the air in our city.  It didn’t matter how good or how bad a station was, if they were on the air the unspoken rule was no one better come into their market.

Over the last two decades that unspoken rule has been broken.  It’s not uncommon to see two, three and even more Christian stations in one market.  In Nashville we have three CCM stations, all the same format and of course we have a couple of other Christian stations that have various formats.  Multiple Christian stations are the norm in markets across the country.

We all claim that we are fighting the same battle, have the same mission, we are all part of God’s Kingdom, until someone comes into our market.

I’ve watched over the years where stations don’t talk to each other in the same market.  I’ve seen stations walk to the opposite side of the room at CMB in order not to talk to each other.  I have seen some stations actually hate the competition across town.  It’s like we want to win our community to Christ but if someone else tries to, it offends us.

I get the fact that the other station if non-profit will take a piece of the pie or hurt our ratings and because of that we are not able to sell the amount of sponsorships we once were able to.  I get the fact that you have to work harder at making your station better.  I think at times we freak out because we wonder if we can maintain our budget and yet at the same time that just stinks of no faith in God providing for our station.  I just don’t  envision God pacing back and fourth in heaven because a third Christian station signed on in your town.  He can provide for your station and the others.

Instead of listening to and complaining about the other guys across town, how about praying for a unique vision for your station.  Pray that your station can make a huge impact and also pray the station across town is able to do the same thing.  It’s time we begin to act like brothers and sisters.  Take time to have coffee with the station across the street.  Lets get on the same team, winning people for Christ.  How much more do you think God will bless your station when you start behaving more like Him?  The Bible says, “they will know you are Christians by your love”, how much love are you showing those other believers?

Just for kicks, what if that CCM station across town caused you to do a much better job?  Perhaps iron does sharpen iron.  Who wins?  Your community has better Christian radio and better Christian radio will win more people to Christ.  So at the end of the day everyone wins.

Romans 14:19

So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.

Bill Scott

Bill Scott

A special thanks to Jeremiah Beck and Dave Kirby for helping me put this list together.  Should you find something offensive, you can be assured it was written by Dave or Jeremiah.  Have a great CMB.



10.  What happens in the Crews Cup stays in the Crews Cup.

09.  You book your room too late and end up 6 miles away at the Beach Club.

08.  Record companies have their signup sheets ready for their secret limo album release party to take place during the CMB seminars.

07.  You experience the CMB handshake.  That’s where you shake someone’s hand while looking around to see if there is someone more important you should be talking to.

06.  Consultants tell you that all of the seminars are important and then schedule meetings during the seminars.

05.  Christian artist foolishly ask a bunch of radio folks to put their hands together and stand during their performance.

04.  400 middle age guys explaining to the seven women who attend CMB how to talk to ladies on the radio.

03.  Ten to 15 people picking up all the unclaimed CD’S and books for listener give aways on their station.

02.  When everyone ask Dean Oneal from Z88 what the weather will be like Friday at Night of Joy…and he knows.

01.  The only place you find to smoke is out back with the artists.

See you soon.

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 11.26.01 AMI woke up this morning and saw an awesome post from WGTS in Washington DC.  I love it when radio works with technology to provide more than just radio.  We live in a day and age where we can bring more to our listeners than ever before and WGTS did just that today.  This is worth watching.  CLICK HERE 

I love the fact instead of having Toby on the air for a normal traditional interview, WGTS decided to skip that all together and take Toby out into the community and film him interacting with listeners.  Traditional radio has served us well over the last 70 years but it’s time to move forward and expand our borders.  If your station is not producing video, using pictures and other uses of new technology, then you are behind the curve as to where radio is going.

There is no one using video better than Rob Dempsey at His Radio in Greenville SC.  Rob films his morning show each day and

Rob Dempsey on the air.

Rob Dempsey on the air.

the success has been amazing.  If you haven’t watched what Rob is doing, please take a minute and visit his site, I believe you’ll be inspired. CLICK HERE to watch what Rob is doing.  This is only one clip out of hundreds that you’ll find on his blog.  I’m excited to see Rob and his team lead the industry in this area.

I know many are saying, this is just too much work.  I do realize many of you have a small staff and don’t have a huge budget to buy camera’s and the other equipment that is needed.  I would encourage you to start small but please start somewhere or you will be left behind.  Yes it will be more work and a lot of planning but it’s something that cannot be avoided if you want to connect with your audience at a much higher level.  Our listeners have many choices when it comes to media, so why not own more of the media channels so they can choose what they want and at the same time stay with their favorite radio station.

It’s time to take radio to the next level.  It will take vision, courage and a lot of work but it will be worth it at the end of the day.  Again, two thumbs up for WGTS for making an impact this week on Washington DC.




Bill Scott

Bill Scott

Every once in a while you get to witness something amazing.  I witnessed just that recently when I took a trip to visit Arizona SHINE.

As most of you know their station has been sold and the staff will be out of work in the near future.  When the sale of your radio station is out of your hands you have a few choices on how you will respond.  You can act out toward the sale of something you love so dearly or believe that God is in control and use every opportunity of opening the mic to change someones life while you still can.  I am so proud that Arizona SHINE has decided to continue to make a difference in their community until the very last day.  I had a few staff members tell me that they don’t want to waste opening the mic, they want each break to count.

As one of their last events, Arizona SHINE decided to give two days of air time to Compassion International to sponsor kids.  They wanted kids to be sponsored as part of their legacy.  Every day in the limited days a head of them, the staff still wanted to make a difference and change lives.  The goal was for 75 children to be sponsored, the last I heard was; 86 were sponsored and listeners were still going.

I’ve been a part of a group of people who were family at work.  WCIE was a special station to me.  I shared this with the staff at Arizona SHINE.  We were devastated to be divided up all over the country.  Now 20 years later I can see God’s hand in what happened.  Instead of our being at one station, we have been able to bless many stations around the world as we went our different directions.  Jon Hull went to KLOVE and then started Word in Music and now making an impact on stations around the world through the KSBJ monitorship program.  Dave Kirby has helped many stations with programming, production and fundraising over the years.  I personally have been to over 100 stations in a few different countries helping them in the area of fundraising.  Jim Campbell started the Radio Training Network with His Radio, WIND FM, JOY FM and many more stations.  God took a few people at one station and has used them to help stations throughout the world.

Fred, Sally and Dave

Fred, Sally and Dave

I truly believe that if your station ends up with an Arizona SHINE staff member, you have found a nugget of gold.

Thumbs up to station manager Sally and the team for ending strong and ending with class.  I cannot tell you how amazing it was to serve this station one last time.  Please take time to send them notes of encouragement and remember them in your prayers.  Thank you Fred, Sally, Dave, Amy and the entire staff at Arizona SHINE for being great examples to us all.  You are indeed leaving a great legacy.

Bill Scott

Bill Scott

We are only weeks away from fundraising season.  For eight weeks this time of year I actually put away my suitcase.  Soon, my trustworthy suitcase will be taken out of the closet and I’ll hit the road coaching stations in more than one country on how to raise money this fall.

Your fundraiser should be the biggest event of the year.  There is nothing that kills me more than when I find out a station has not promoted their fundraiser.  If you had a huge concert coming to your market and you didn’t air any promo’s about the concert, you didn’t play song’s by the artists and your announcers never chatted about how great the concert was going to be, my guess is few would show up for the concert.  As radio people we know you have to sell the snot out of an event in order to see great results and your fundraiser is no different.

  1. Your fundraiser should sound like the most exciting event that your station does all year long.  You should have your listeners so excited about this special event that they cannot wait to give.
  2. Your announcers should be talking on the air about how amazing this fundraiser is going to be, how lives will be changed and how the listener can be apart of something that will impact their city.
  3. Promo’s should be running with listeners talking about their station and how it’s made an impact on their life.
  4. Promo’s need to be running explaining what it means to be a listener supported station and why donations are needed and where they are going.
  5. Have fun counting down the days until the fundraiser begins.

The more education you do in advance of the fundraiser the better success you will have.  Never take for granted that your listeners know you are listener supported and what that means.  It’s your job to promote the results you have seen by having your ministry on the air.  Everyone wants to give to a winning team and you need to share the success you are having as a station and then give the listeners 100 percent of the credit for making that happen.  You are only able to stay on the air with the good news of Christ because of the support you receive from your listeners.  Use the phrase after playing a great listener story, “If you have ever given to this station, you made that happen.”

You must find away to promote your fundraising event in away that it will sound exciting and life changing.  I have no doubt this can be the biggest event of the year for your station.

Like always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions, Bill@ShareMediaServices.com.

o-beats0705-webI saw this article today and had to share it with you.  I cannot post the whole article here but will provide  you a link so you can read it.  It’s worth the read.  I just sat here going uhmmmmm?

The innovators who brought you the iMac, iPhone and iPad don’t usually look backward. But with one of their signature services, iTunes, weakening against competition from streaming music providers, Apple this past week finally responded — not with any technological breakthrough but with a radio station modeled on half-century-old successes, complete with hyperkinetic DJs, relentless self-promotion and a listener request line.  READ FULL ARTICLE


Bill Scott

Bill Scott

We now live in a time where there are so many choices that compete with radio.  We compete with cell phones, computers, tablets, satellite radio, now streaming audio that goes directly to our dash in our cars and the list continues.

Even though this could be seen as a challenging time for radio, I also believe it’s a time where radio can really grow.  We are no longer bound to just radio but we are able to provide video, magazines and social media.  It wasn’t that long ago we couldn’t interact with our listeners once they turned the radio off, but now we can.  It wasn’t that long ago listeners could drive out of our coverage area, or go to work in a building that didn’t receive our signal but that has all changed.

So here is what blows my mind and perhaps it’s just me.  I’d love some feedback on what I am writing on today.  So why would a radio station buy the cheapest app available to them?  Knowing that with the right app your listeners can access social media, donate online, see the album cover of the song you are playing, allows the listeners to buy the song or full album, use your app as an alarm clock along with many more virgin-iphone-application-4features.  I recently wanted to listen to a radio station not in my area.  By industry standards this station would be considered one of the leaders and yet once I downloaded the app, I found it was perhaps the cheapest app you could buy offering very little to the listener.  On a side note, I never got the app to stream.  Why would your station buy state of the art equipment for your radio station and miss an app for the listeners phone?  Why wouldn’t you consider this app as important as your transmitter that you paid tens of thousands of dollars for.  The app goes everywhere.  Your audience can jog with the app, exercise, go on vacation, go into buildings that cannot receive your signal and listen to the app.  We live in a day and age where it’s no longer an option not to have a state of the art app for your station.

Here’s a homework assignment.  Go to an office and walk through the offices and cubicles and let me know how many radios youradio see.  Go to the gym and tell me how many people have a portable radio strapped to them.  Go onto the back deck of someones home and ask to see their radio.  My guess is you’ll come up with zero radios or close to it.  This doesn’t mean they won’t listen to your station with an app but it does mean things are changing.  We as a family haven’t had a radio hooked up in our home for the last seven years.  If we listen to radio, it’s through someone’s phone and only if the station has a good app.  We are not opposed to FM but we are opposed to listening through an actual radio.

It’s a new day and if radio doesn’t adapt soon, you’ll be in another business.  I would love to hear your feedback.

Bill Scott

Bill Scott

It’s been a few weeks since my last blog.  I’ve written some articles for CMB and HisAir.net, which have some great topics that are worth reading.  I’ve also been zig zagging across the country doing fundraisers.  I am spending two weeks at home now trying to catch up and then off to Australia for three weeks doing more fundraisers.  You can be certain on the long plane ride to Australia that a few more articles will be posted.

So, from reading the title you are thinking, Bill has lost his mind.  Well, you might not be too far from the truth after all the fundraising I’ve done this Spring.  Grow your audience in three days seems something that is impossible.  It’s like watching a late night informercial where they promise you a full head of hair in just 48 hours.  We all know it’s not going to happen.  Ok, believe it or not I’ve been expected to do that from radio stations during their three day fundraising events.

There have been some fundraisers over the years that have not gone so well.   It’s during those events I begin to ask the station manager or program director some hard questions.  I always want to know why the phones are not ringing.  First lets get this clear, your fundraiser is for a time of harvest, if you haven’t planted seed all year long, phones will not ring at the level you are hoping for.  With that in mind here are some of the questions I always ask:

1.)  Have you been involved in the community?  This would include food drives, showing up at concerts, being seen at church events, family events, hugging and kissing babies etc…

2.)  Have you connected with your listeners?  How are you meeting the listener needs beyond playing music?  Perhaps you have Prayer Works where they can be prayed for.  Some stations have a station Chaplin, others meet the needs of their listeners in other ways.

3.)  Is your on-air talent touching the hearts of listeners between the songs?  Laughter, stories, news are all great but there has to be a spiritual connection as well.

The major question is why should your audience give to your station?  If you are only a glorified jukebox then don’t expect much.  If your station has been coasting for years, then why would your audience invest in what you are doing?  Listeners are smarter than what you give them credit for.

Now is the time to plant seeds so when you do your next fundraiser you’ll see the harvest you are looking for.

Bill Scott

Bill Scott

Not long ago, a friend of mine was talking with a client and the staff made it known that doing a fundraiser was the necessary evil in order for them to stay on the air.

No doubt it’s a challenge to keep a non profit radio ministry funded, that is pretty much a given.  If your staff has the attitude it’s the necessary evil in order for your station to exist, then you have already lost the battle.  If you don’t believe in asking for money, the listeners won’t respond to your fundraiser in the way you need them too.  Asking for money is Biblical and can be something that actually blesses your listeners.

When you look in the Bible you find biblical heroes like Moses, David, Hezekiah, Nehemiah, Jesus, and Paul who asked people to financially support God’s work. Despite this, almost every time I’ve told radio friends that I love asking people for money they say, “Thank the Lord you like doing that! I find it hard asking for money and just don’t feel right about it.   I’m sure glad you like going around the country doing it.”

Moses did fundraising in Exodus 25 and Exodus 35.  He asked his people to give to the Lord.  You’ll find a difference in “whose heart stirred him up” and “whose spirit was willing” (Ex 35:21). Those who were willing they say, brought what was required.  That is good fundraising But those whose heart stirred them were more generous giving more than their obligation.  That is why we tell stories during fundraisers because it stirs the heart and when that happens you’ll find you’ll get a larger gift and one that is more likely to be an on going gift.  There is a lot to learn from Moses.

I thought it was interesting that it’s recorded that the offering was made to the Lord, not to the tabernacle.  If you read the story you’ll see it’s amazingly God-centered.  God was present in every step of the process.  As a radio station, you’ll want to learn from this with your own fundraiser because it fits perfectly and will perhaps give you peace of mind while asking for money.   Marc Pitman listed these below in one of his articles and he was spot on.

  • God details the need.
  • God tells how to use the supplies.
  • God prompts Moses to ask for them.
  • God prompts certain people to respond.
  • The people give to God.
  • The gifts are used to glorify God by craftsmen God gifted.

It’s so important that we take time in prayer asking God to determine your radio station’s needs and how you need to share those needs with your listeners.  I think you’ll be amazed at the response from your listeners when you do this.  With Moses, they responded with more than enough for the work.

This might seem weird to think of it this way but you are actually leading your listeners in an act of worship when you lead them to give.  If your fundraiser is done right, you actually teach many of your listeners about the principles of giving.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve talked to listeners that were so moved by God when they gave that it blessed their life.  God wants to use your listeners to do great things for the Kingdom and you are giving them a chance to do that through your station.

So this year you don’t have to ask your listeners for money, you get to ask your listeners for money.  You get to partner with those who believe in your station to do great ministry in your community.  Be excited to ask for money.  Fundraising is not the necessary evil in order for you to stay on the air.